“Oregons For Immigration Reform” is a group that has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-immigrant hate group.” That makes sense when you read certain quotes from its founder John Tanton (“I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that”) or its current president (who likened immigration to “an organized assault on our culture”), or when you learn how they partner with groups like the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps to protest the spread of immigration. Unlike many hate groups, though, they have managed to land a foothold in “respectable” politics.
You see, OFIA boasts as its vice president one Mike Nearman, who also happens to be a representative in the state House of Representatives. Nearman is listed as the vice president on the group’s website, and though he denies this position, he admitted to an Oregon alt-weekly that he was an officer. He recently introduced a measure to overturn a state sanctuary law that protects undocumented immigrants. He is, of course, a Republican.
As Think Progress notes, the “Republican lawmaker as active white supremacist” has become a very common trope of late:
Since winning the Republican nomination for Florida governor, former Rep. Ron DeSantis has drawn attention for his racist dogwhistle attacks on his Democratic opponent (who is black) and New York state Congressional nominee Alexandria Ociasio-Cortez (who is of Puerto Rican decent), for his history of giving speeches at racist events, and for having served as a moderator of a far-right Facebook group used for posting racist memes (a spokesperson has claimed DeSantis was not aware he was a moderator).
Other moderators of that group included Virginia GOP senate nominee Corey Stewart, Montana Auditor and GOP senate nominee Matt Rosendale, West Virginia Attorney General and GOP senate nominee Patrick Morrisey, Texas GOP Congressional nominee Daniel Crenshaw, Nevada GOP Congressional nominee Danny Tarkanian, and former Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward.
After Rep. Rod Blum’s (R-IA) apparent involvement in the Facebook group came to light in recent weeks, he tweeted out an AP reporter’s cellphone number rather than respond directly to an inquiry about the group.
Meanwhile, his fellow Iowan, Rep. Steve King, has drawn no rebuke from GOP leadership despite years of promoting racist propaganda.
It’s become cliche to note that Trump has made white supremacists feel “welcome” in the Republican party, but it’s starting to seem like this ideology is more than just a fringe outlier. It’s starting to seem downright fundamental.